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Shots Rang Out | Second-Guessing the PM

Source: Jornal O Globo.

SÃO PAULO – A video of an armed robbery followed by gunshots on Assis Ribeiro Avenue, Eastern Zone, São Paulo, has provoked heated discussions on the social networks this weekend.

A local motorcycle enthusiast finally finds a policeman when he needs one, supposedly provoking intense debate on the social networks — the YouTube viewer count for the video is a mere 165.

Globo seems to have snapped up the footage for its own news broadcasts, twitted 369 times on the media giant’s G1 news portal.

Even so, the scenario — the wired motocyclist, who provides the opportunity to debate the minutiae of the facts very clearly based on decent medium-quality video — has to be chalked up as a successful case study in citizen journalism.

The images show an armed robber who, after stealing a motorcycle, is shot by a military policeman who descended from a patrol car stopped at the traffic signal. The policeman fired two shots and the wounded criminal fell over onto the motorcycle.

The recording, captured by a camera mounted on the helment of the motorcycle’s owner, begins at Assis Ribeiro Ave, where the videographer says he is on his way to Anhembi, in the Northern Zone, where a motorcycle show is to be held.

The cyclist stops at the traffic light and is approached by two robbers. The robber riding behind the driver, is armed.

“Stop, stop, stop …. if you give the alarm you will be f*cked…”, says the robber, pointing the weapon at the victim. .

“Take it, take it, I am not armed. I am not a cop. Go ahead and take it,” the author of the video says.

After the gun shots, the PM goes over to the victim to disarm him.

“Thank you, officer, thank you. He can go steal motorcycles in hell. My motorcycle you are not going to steal.”

In a note, the PM says the officer fulfilled his duty and fired after being threatened by the robber. The note refers to the entirety of the video posted to the social networks. The PM PR office had this to say:

“According to the PM, the video showed the action of two criminals who overpowered a motocyclist on the corner of Dr. Assis Ribeiro with  Gabriela Mistral, around 2 p.m. on Saturday. The robbery was witnessed by a PM who was off-duty and on his way home, still wearing his uniform. The police officer, “doing his duty,” exited his car to help the victim. As he approached, he saw the criminal pointing a  firearm in his direction and fired two shots with his .40 pistol, striking the robber in his abdomen and one of his legs.

According to the PM, the revolver carried by the robber was seized. The bandit, identified as Leonardo Escarante, was treated at Hospital Tatuapé, where he remains under medical care. His accomplice got away. The case was registered with the 10th Precinct.  “Preliminary analysis of the video suggests that the officer acted legitimately and correctly, according to police tactics and techniques. In the 2 minutes and 13 seconds, at around 59 seconds, the robber is clearly seen pointing his weapon. The officer demonstrated proper training and commitment to public safety, defending society from violent criminals.”

On the social networks, opinions were divided for and against the shooting.

Some favored the slogan “the only good bandit is a dead bandit.” On the other side were those who saw excessive force on the part of the PM.

The debate revolved around whether the robber had or had not pointed his gun at the PM. Instants before, the robber appears to have placed the vehicle’s alarm and the revolver in his belt. He then picks up the motorcycle with both hands.

That he was wielding  a weapon at all under the circumstances, rather then setting it on the ground, might incline me to shoot him, too.  Entry-level police work is not paid well enough to be gambling with your life.

But you know the old joke about conservatives: We are liberals until the first time we get mugged.

Denizens of our own little slice of parkland — with its Facebooked network of urban gardeners — recently suffered a mid-day armed robbery that left both parents devastated, for example.

According to the Internet of São Paulo cab drivers — its web of routers is a structure of lunch spots offering a “commercial” menu — criminals are increasing their activity in the Vila, which has long been a relatively  relaxed night destination and scene of architectural marvels.

That calm was shattered, if you recall, by the fatal shooting of a local resident by a squadron of cops under circumstances never determined. See

In any event, the power to second-guess the police on reality TV is a genuine conquest, given the social pathologies of local law enforcement.